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The second of three Guided By Voices albums arriving in 2012 is 21 songs strong in under 40 minutes. That means each track is clocking in at an average of less than two minutes. Good news, as GBV tends to excel in the art of planting the hook quick and then getting the hell out before the song gets tiresome.

Tunes start and stop so quickly on Class Clown that it's impossible to judge it by individual tracks. It must be absorbed as a whole over multiple listens as one giant song with lots of bizarre tangents. It's easy to look at this disc as a sequel to GBV's beloved Alien Lanes in this respect. Whereas Alien Lanes was loaded with songs that would become live staples for GBV, the only track on Class Clown that seems worthy of that distinction is the pristine "Billy Wire."

When you dissect this album it's actually the odd-ball experimental tracks that prove to be the most fun and rewarding. "Tyson's High School" is a fun psychedelic aside driven by some serious wah-wah abuse. "Hang Up and Try Again" delivers enough power chords to give AC/DC a run for their money, and the stripped down, acoustic "Chain to the Moon" captures that same aura of Midwestern desperation that made classic GBV albums so damn magical. Longtime GBV fans are sure to look at this album as the pleasantest of surprises.

  • Album: Class Clown Spots a UFO
  • Artist: Guided By Voices
  • Label: Fire
  • Songs: He Rises Our Union Bellboy/ Blue Babbleships Bay/ Forever Until It Breaks/ Class Clown Spots A UFO/ Chain To The Moon/ Hang Up And Try Again/ Keep It In Motion/ Tyson's High School/ They And Them/ Fighter Pilot/ Roll Of The Dice, Kick In The Head/ Billy Wire/ Worm w 7 Broken Hearts/ Starfire/ Jon The Croc/ Fly Baby/ All Of This Will Go/ The Opposite Continues/ Be Impeccable/ Lost In Spaces/ No Transmission
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